Advanced health assessment in nurse practitioner programs: follow-up study

Frances J Kelley, Catharine A Kopac, John Rosselli
Journal of Professional Nursing: Official Journal of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing 2007, 23 (3): 137-43
The increase in advanced practice graduate programs and the inclusion of content and skills related to advanced health assessment as a core competency for practice served as the impetus for a 5-year follow-up study to track the changes, methodologies, and integration of technology into practitioner programs. The questionnaire was mailed to the faculty/schools listed as current members in the National Health Service Corps Nurse Practitioner Faculty Advocate Network. The number of responding schools was 135 (44%). The family nurse practitioner program continues to be the most offered advanced practice nursing program. Nearly all institutions offer a post-master's program and an advanced health assessment course to their clinical graduate students. Health assessment is usually taught concurrently or as a prerequisite for clinical experiences; there continues to be a strong emphasis on the physical examination component. Ethnic and cultural assessment and gerontological assessment content increased since the original study. Both class and laboratory class sizes decreased. Qualitative data that centered on differences in graduate versus undergraduate health assessment revealed a shift in focus in several areas: differential diagnoses, abnormals, and the inclusion of advanced skills. There was an emergence of more creative strategies: the use of standardized patients, online coursework, videotaping, "live" patients, and simulations.

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